Sweden’s top resort and the largest north of the Alps. The skiing, which includes a World Cup descent, has been accessed by funicular railway since 1910 from the lovely old town. It has a lively village centre which you can ski all the way to, full of shops and restaurants.
It’s Scandinavia’s biggest resort and Sweden’s most popular, it’s former Alpine World Championships host and it’s snow-sure from November to May, but despite having nearly 50 lifts and more than a 1000m of vertical 100km of downhill slopes, Åre is keen to let us Brits know it’s much more than just a skiing resort.
“Åre means both an escape from everyday life and a close and realistic encounter with nature; in the crisp crunch of cold, virgin snow underneath your boots, and yes in the nice, clean carve of newly sharpened skis on the plush corduroy of a well-groomed piste. In the gentle heat from the crackling log fire in the chalet with a hot, fragrant wine toddy in hand, your flushing cheeks, tired but happy legs, the smiles, the kinship.” says a statement from the resort.
Destination Åre spreads along the mountainside with different base villages in which to stay. Along with the main Åre Village you can opt for the villages of Duved and Tegefjäll in the west or Björnen in the east.
The resort is currently in the throes of its greatest expansion in more than a century, since the late 1800s in fact. Although its inhabitants still think of Åre as a village, maybe it’s more accurate to describe the buzzing little ski metropolis as a town.
Perhaps this is most obvious in its nightlife which equals that of major cities—not necessarily in number of clubs but certainly in quality and intensity.
The local shops of Åre are tempting too with world-class shopping for well known quality brands as well as locally produced luxury articles. You can enjoy delicious chocolate truffles from Åre Chokladfabrik, glass from the local glassworks and buy beautiful silver rings made by the local silversmith.
The construction boom of the last few years has meant that Åre today boasts the best and newest hotels and apartments in all of Sweden’s mountains. Choose between ultramodern, conceptual hotels, complete self-contained resorts, romantic 19th century hotels, hostels or cosy chalets complete with fireplace and perhaps bearskins on the walls.
OK we should still mention the skiing and boarding. Mount Åreskutan has seen many new pistes and lifts added over the past few years and the treeless area below the mountain’s peak, a rarity in Scandinavia, equates to riding freedom.
And nowhere else in the mountains of Scandinavia can you find such a wide variety, scope and quality of activities like cross-country skiing, ski touring, paragliding, zipline, snowmobiling, dog sledding, swimming pools and spas. So if you’re looking for diversity, Åre should be your obvious choice.
It’s not as far as you think either, although it may feel you’re within touching distance of the Artic circle. There are two international airports (Åre/Östersund Airport and Trondheim/Vaernes Airport in Norway) within around one hour transfer, and two hour direct flight from both Heathrow and Stanstead, as well as packages from Neilson, it’s as easy as flying to the Alps.